Founded in 1832 by Auguste Agassiz, the company that would become Longines really came into its own in 1860 when Agassiz’s nephew, Ernest Francillon, took the watch maker’s reigns. Under Francillon, the company moved to a site called Les Longines on the river Suze in 1867, trademarked the name Longines in 1880, and registered the famous winged-hourglass logo in 1889.
Of course, Francillon did more than see to the company’s marketing needs. He also oversaw technological innovations that would make Longines one of the world’s most respected watch makers. One of his first decisions was to introduce anchor escapements into Longines timepieces. Then, in 1888, he presided over Longines’s first certified chronometer.
By 1909, Longines had enough experience with small-caliber movements that it could devote more of its attention to the jewelry watches and wristwatches that would make it famous. Two years later, it introduced a barrel-shaped wristwatch that is considered the precursor of the Longines Evidenza line, which flourished in the 1920s...
As it turns out, the winged-hourglass was a prescient symbol for a company that created numerous timepieces for pilots. In 1919, Longines became the official supplier to the International Aeronautical Federation; in 1925, a Longines accompanied aviator Antonio Locatelli on a flight to the North Pole region; and in 1926, Walter Mittelholzer wore a Longines when he flew from Switzerland to Iran.
But the association really took off, if you will, in 1927, when Charles Lindbergh made his solo flight across the Atlantic. A Longines measurement device at Roosevelt Field in Long Island marked the moment he took off; a similar Longines timepiece at Le Bourget Airfield in Paris where he landed recorded the time of the flight: 33 hours, 30 minutes, 29.8 seconds.
While in the air, Lindbergh had a lot of time to think about a lot of things, including the perfect watch, which he eventually designed for Longines. His Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle, introduced in 1932, used high-frequency quartz regulators to aid in the navigation of transatlantic flights by showing both Greenwich Mean Time and the corresponding hour angle. Needless to say, a Lindbergh Hour Angle from the 1930s is one of the most collectible antique Longines wristwatches available today.
The introduction of a wrist chronograph in 1936 allowed the aviation connection to continue in 1938, when Howard Hughes broke the speed record for a flight around the world. By the end of the 1930s, Longines had many steel-case watches designed specifically for pilots in its product line.
Calendars, water-resistance, and self-winding mechanisms were added as features to Longines watches during the 1940s. Gold and diamonds became more common as post-war prosperity allowed Longines to go after the luxury market.
And then, in 1954, Longines introduced one of its most enduring sports-lifestyle brands, the Conquest. The handsome Flagship followed in 1957. A vintage Conquest or Flagship from the 1950s is as prized by collectors today as it was by customers in the mid-20th century. Another collectible wristwatch to look from the late 1950s is the Jamboree.
Key terms for Antique and Vintage Longines Wristwatches:
Chronograph: A watch that also records time intervals, like a stopwatch.
Chronometer: A watch that has been certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute not to lose more than four seconds per day, nor to gain more than six.
Escapement: A device that converts the pressure of a spring or coil into a fixed release of movement.
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Nolwenn Leroy : Sa frange XXL pour la soirée Diane LonginesCloser, May 23rd
La jeune femme n'aurait raté pour rien au monde la soirée de lancement du prix de Diane Longines 2013, qui se tenait au Pavillon Gabriel dans la capitale française. Nolwenn, qui représente l'événement cette année, est apparue sur le red carpet dans un...Read more
Video from Longines: Longines Awards Luxury Timepieces to Owner, Trainer ...GlobeNewswire (press release), May 19th
Weehawken, NJ, May 19, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Longines, the internationally renowned Swiss watch brand and Official Timekeeper and Watch of the 138th running of The Preakness Stakes, ceremoniously awarded Oxbow's owner, trainer and jockey...Read more
Princess Of Sylmar stuns rivals to claim Longines Kentucky Oaksbettor.com (blog), May 4th
Princess Of Sylmar stunned her rivals in the Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade 1) at Churchill Downs in the United States of America on Saturday, May 4, 2013. She was not considered to be one of the favourites, but took her team by surprise in the end...Read more
Hats, fascinators on display at Longines fashion contestBusiness First of Louisville, May 3rd
Longines, a Swiss watchmaker, was announced by Churchill Downs Inc. (NASDAQ: CHDN) Monday as the new entitlement partner for the Kentucky Oaks. The Oaks race features a "Ladies First" theme, continuing the "Pink Out!" tradition that has encouraged...Read more
Estimate lands successful in Longines Sagaro Stakesbettor.com (blog), May 2nd
Estimate landed successful in the Longines Sagaro Stakes (Group 3) at Ascot in England on Wednesday, May 1, 2013. She was expected to be strong and didn't disappoint her fans at all in the all important competition. The young filly was rated as the...Read more
Aussie young gun Rinky Hijikata will take part in the Longines Future Tennis ...Courier Mail, May 1st
The NSW talent has been selected by Tennis Australia to compete in the Longines Future Tennis Aces event junior tournament - which runs during the first week of the French Open in Paris. Hijikata, who has been playing tennis since he was three years...Read more
Longines to sponsor Kentucky Oaks, Pink Out fashion contestLexington Herald Leader, April 29th
Longines also will host events surrounding the Oaks on Friday, including the Longines Kentucky Oaks Fashion Contest and the Winner's Party, and the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (a race for female horses) on Derby Day. In 2012, 112,552 people attended...Read more
Longines - BASELWORLD 2013PR Newswire (press release), April 24th
With Conquest Classic, HydroConquest, The Longines Heritage Military 1938 and La Grande Classique de Longines 100 Diamonds, Longines is launching new models that perfectly embody its core values of elegance, tradition and performance...Read more